Lin and her family have a Memorial Box that can be explained HERE because I, in no way, could explain it as adequately as she . . . and she has called upon her readers to share about their 'memorial boxes' as well.
Of course, I do not have just one Memorial Box. My entire house is dedicated to boxes and containers full of God's wonderful grace. In the photograph below you will find just a few of the boxes in my house that have a story and hold treasures that God has provided at the exact right time ... His time . . . and often though I would pray fervently for certain parts of my life to be touched or healed, I was always surprised when his hand would seemingly literally reach down from Heaven and touch whatever needed fixing or healing or answering an impossible question.
The far picture to the right, while appearing the least visually appealing is the box that actually yielded the greatest gift from God in the past 4 years of my life. Without going into too much detail, it is no secret that I am divorced and have two very small girls to take care of. It is no secret that in today's economy, even having several jobs would leave me penniless and without health insurance and it would leave my children in a most unstable and precarious living and educational environment. It is also no secret that I write books, or rather I have written and self-published a book. That is one, 1, singular. I am by no means a successful author. That being said where times are rough and bills often leave me wondering how I could possibly stay afloat God always has the answer.
The most blessed event that I experienced was two years ago. I was in the middle of the ugly divorce. I had no income and child support had not yet been instated. I had creditors, collection agencies and the bank who finances my car calling me several times a day because bills were not being paid from the other side. I didn't know what to do. I was literally scraping by the skin of my teeth.
I will never forget realizing that I was $25.14 short of my car payment and when I spoke to the credit union they told me that they would NOT work with me. I either paid the full amount of the payment or they would repossess my car. I suppose under other circumstances that wouldn't have been a big deal, but at the time I was legally obligated to transport my children to and from visitation with their father. I had to get to church. I had to be able to get to the girls' doctors appointments and to my lawyer who was more than thirty miles away. I panicked, but I also prayed. And prayed and prayed and prayed.
The first miracle was that the Credit Union finally relented and gave me ONE additional week to come up with the $25.14 I was short. But even with that additional week I did not know where I was going to find that $25.14 You cannot squeeze blood from a rock and I was unemployed with a 1 and 2 year old that I needed to be present for - physically, mentally emotionally. It was a very trying time.
The day came that I had to make that blasted car payment and dejectedly I pulled up my bank account on the computer. I was resigned to the fact that I would have to voluntarily turn in my car to the credit union because there was no way for me to get that $25.14. None. But when I pulled up the current balance the screen froze. I sighed. It wasn't abnormal. We have really horrible Internet service. I was just about to turn off my computer when the little never ending circle began to rotate again signifying that the computer was thinking and then it flashed to my balance screen. I remember my eyes narrowing, my brow furrowing. The balance didn't look right. In fact, it looked higher than it had been only the day before. There, where there had been only $331.01 there was now $356.15 and my car payment was $356.14.
My heart started racing. Surely the bank had made some sort of error. This was too good to be true. But then I saw in the sidebar the pending transactions and sure enough there was a deposit for $25.14. The exact amount I had needed. At first I thought it was a joke. I thought maybe a friend or family member who had heard my woes had deposited the extra money but then I looked at the source of the deposit and it read, Smashwords Author Royalty. It was the quarterly dues of royalties paid out by the company with whom I had self-published. I cried and cried and cried. God was - is amazing. The other amazing reality of it all was that the publishing company does not cut checks smaller than $25, so if my check had been only $0.15 less, I would not have received the money. Totally a God Thing.
I was able to make my payment and keep my car and within a week child support started coming in. God has blessed me, has provided a roof over my head and my girls' precious heads when we otherwise would have been stranded on the streets. He has provided a God fearing, Jesus Christ loving family who supports me and encourages my relationship with God, who praises with me in his miracles.
He has kept my daughters safe from a physically, mentally and emotionally abusive life. He has given me the knowledge, the intuition, and the heart guided on a path toward Him which led me away from the danger. If I had waited only a few more months to flee the situation I would have had to share my daughters with someone who could have devastated their little minds, bodies and hearts.
Which brings me to my other pictures . . .
In the top left picture, it is a Memorial of my childhood; unopened souvenir liquor that will never be opened but serves as a reminder of my great grandparents. Photographs of my grandparents, my great grandparents, myself as a child and my family as it was when I was a teenager. A book of Lucille Ball's biography. My great grandparents knew her and Desi Arnaz (RIP today 27 years ago) and I always found her a fascinating role model with a sad past that made her the woman she grew to be. David Winter cottages that remind me of my childhood, make believe and fantasy in the imagination of a 7 year old mind. They remind me of sad times after I had to leave my grandparents' house (I lived there until I was 6) and then I could only visit. Those cottages were like a homey anchor. None of the things in this box are particularly important for any other reason that they are things from my childhood that God created an invisible tether, sweet nostalgic memories and a softened heart to make the same memories for my babies. For anyone who knew me before children, they would have to know that to soften my heart it would HAVE to be a God Thing.
The top left-center box is my scrapbooking box which contains tens of thousands of pictures and memories, scrapped between various bindings of so many different eras of life. Tens of thousands of memories that I have captured in one still moment and God has blessed me with the ability to make them into beautiful Memorial books for myself and my family and friends.
And I pray fervently for families whose children suffer in any way or form. I never ask God why. I know He has a reason or a million reasons for everything under the sun and so I only pray that His will be done in those families' lives and in those children and that their lives and their illnesses or limitations do nothing but serve Him and His will.
Lastly, the bottom box is an empty advent calendar. In our house it remains empty all December except for every day 1 thing appears inside the one respective day's box and the girls get to open that one box. If they look forward to different days or go back to past days, once again they will find only empty boxes. But for that day there is a gift; sometimes small, sometimes big enough to make their eyes sparkle with glee, but there is only one gift.
For me this represents God's little surprises. Just like the day he left that $25.14 surprise in my 'advent box for the day'. My eyes sparkled (with TEARS OF GRATITUDE) when I 'opened my box'. We as humans worry and fret and preoccupy ourselves so much with what we cannot solve and what we cannot fix and what is COMPLETELY out of our control. We so often forget that He has it under control. He is God. The one and only God. He's totally got it ALL and we need not worry or fret or preoccupy ourselves with what he has already seen and arranged for us. HE IS IN CONTROL.
I have to remind myself of this often; when preoccupation with the violence in the world, and our economic difficulties and my financial stresses and health issues of my family or friends get me down, I have to constantly remind myself. God IS IN CONTROL and he always has something in your 'advent box for the day' - it is up to you to decide if you will accept it and appreciate it.
On that note, I am so thankful for this season and I am so thankful to you Lin! Thank you for your blog. Thank you for everything it stands for and everything it inspires. On days where I am down, sad, angry, upset, irritable or just feeling numb, I read your blog and it reminds me that there is so much to be up, happy, joyful, smiling and alive for! I mean it from the deepest depths of my heart. Thank you.